NYR/ARI 10/26 Review: King Pavelec & The Rangers Win the Derek Stepan Cup; Leave The New York Arizona Coyotes Howling in Tears, “They Aren’t Booing Him, They’re Saying BOO!”, The 1000 Game Virgin Rick Nash, AV Lives For Another Day, Why This Win Doesn’t Change Anything, Montreal & More From M$G

The Garden saluted Derek Stepan tonight. MSG Networks did not. Photo Credit: @beyourcity

What’s up everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. As I write these words to you, I’m in lovely Montreal, Quebec. I’m typing this blog on my shitty little Notebook laptop and since this thing is slow, I know I won’t be going as long as usual. Plus, I’m using this blog to take a break in between all the bar hopping, so I gotta finish this quick and get back out there!

After their worst loss of the season on Monday night, the 4-1 pillaging from the San Jose Sharks, the Rangers decided to finally make some changes. While these weren’t big changes, such as firing Head Coach Alain Vigneault, trading Chris Kreider or in my dream world, deporting Henrik Lundswiss, the Rangers finally made some moves, which I’ll get to shortly.

In Thursday night’s 5-2 shellacking of the Desert Dogs of Arizona, for one night, the moves looked like they paid off. I say “looked like”, because after all, the Rangers beat the worst team in the league, in the Arizona Coyotes. To make things even easier, the Coyotes started their third string goalie, in Adin Hill. This is the same Adin Hill, who may very well be the worst goalie the Rangers see all year. That is, if you exclude Henrik Lundswiss!

Boo Nieves shouldn’t be the only young face brought to the big club. Photo Credit: NYR

After getting their dicks kicked in by the Sharks on Monday, in another game where the Rangers featured 11 forwards and 7 defensemen (Which isn’t a crazy idea in the playoffs, but will exhaust your forwards over the course of an 82 game season) the Rangers finally addressed their woeful play up the middle.

On Tuesday, the Rangers “Released the Kraken”, if you will, when they waived Adam Cracknell. Cracknell has since cleared waivers and has been assigned to the Hartford Wolfpack. Oh, and for everyone on the #FIREAV train and sports a raging hard on to see Lindy Ruff replace AV, keep in mind that Cracknell was a Ruff guy. In other words, for the first time, as a Rangers assistant coach, Ruff got a player here. That player failed. But hey, tell me all about how Ruff is going to make this team a Stanley Cup Winner!

Perhaps more surprisingly, joining Cracknell in Hartford is defenseman Tony DeAngelo. Again, as I talked about in previous blogs, the Rangers traded a number 1 center & a starting goalie for a soft Swede, that every expert draft scout said the Rangers over rated, and an AHL defenseman. While I get the Stepan trade was a cap move, the Rangers got the worst of this trade, because really, do you see Lias Andersson becoming an elite scorer?

In a move that I thought was positive for the team, the Rangers called up the 23 year old Cristoval “BOO” Nieves. Wearing Ryan Callahan’s old #24 jersey, Nieves was called up to give the Rangers some center depth. As stated, this move paid off in dividends tonight.

As you may have heard by now, or at least you will know by the time you finish this blog, Nieves had a spectacular game. However, while I think the Nieves call-up is a wise decision, the same problems that plague this team still remain. I don’t want to be a “Debbie Downer” after a much needed two points, no matter whom the opponent, but you can’t just put your head in the sand & pretend everything is going to be okay. That said, (there’s one) the Rangers can relax on their quick flight to Montreal.

Before continuing, here are my last few blogs on the team, in case you missed them:

NYR/SJS 10/23 Review: PURE ANGER, as Henrik Lundqvist & The Rangers Get Sharknado’d, Season Falling Apart, AV May Need To Start Chewing Gum At Home, Time for the Rangers to Get Ruff, Powerless Play, Ticket Prices Continue To Drop & More From the Absolute Worst Loss of the 2017-2018 NY Ranger Season


NYR/NSH 10/21 Review: The Rangers Break Nearly Every Bad Trend To Gain Their Second Win of the Season, Major NYR Record Snapped, Cheap Tix, What This Win Means, Looking Ahead & Much More From a Matinee at M$G


NYR/NYI 10/19 Review: Another Loss For The “We Start at 9PM Rangers”, Halak Beats Lundqvist One-On-One Again, Rick “Horseshoes & Hand Grenades” Nash, #FIREAV Train Gets More Passengers, Micheletti Is Torturous & More From Another Brutal OT Loss


NYR/NJD 10/14 Review: Time To Panic As The Rangers Lose To The Two Worst Teams of Last Season, Fast Returns, No Offense, Accepting A Rebuild, Fire AV Debate, Potential New Coaches With a Shocking Candidate, M$G Tells Season Ticket Holders To Go Eff Themselves & More From Another Depressing Night of NYR Hockey


NYR/CBJ 10/13 Review: “Give Me Two Goals & I Got This” – Henrik Lundqvist Does His Job, But NYR Does Not, AV Continues To Troll His Haters, The Worst PP Effort of the Season, Goaltending Clinic, Would Lundqvist Accept a Rebuild, Ticket Prices Dropping & More From A Panic-Inducing Loss


With the new roster changes, here’s what the Rangers rolled out in Thursday’s night win.

The Arizona Coyotes are the worst team in the NHL. While the Rangers and Alain Vigneault can breathe a bit, this is not a win that will make you do the “Macarena”. The Coyotes, the only winless team in the NHL, aren’t a doormat. Anyone can beat anyone in this league. For Arizona, they will eventually get their first win. However, for the fortunate sake of the Rangers, the Yotes will have to wait for that win.

A loss tonight would’ve created a wave of panic, fear, dread and unbridled anger throughout Rangerstown. If you are one of those fans that expect to win games on paper, than there was no other game on the schedule, that would’ve been easier to win, than this Coyotes team on Thursday night.

Right now, the Coyotes are reeling. After tonight’s loss, they are a putrid 0-9-1. They just started their east coast road trip. They are without their starting goalie Antti Raanta, who’s only played four periods of hockey for them all season. They have a new coach in Rick Tocchet and you have to wonder if he’s betting on them to lose every game! They have no captain, as life-long Coyote, Shane Doan, retired in the off-season. It’s a promising young team, that surely has pieces to grab a playoff spot, but with no goaltending right now, they look like a beer league team.

I truly feel for anyone who calls themselves an Arizona Coyote fan. I mean, what’s the incentive? While we all joke about the Islanders getting the boot to Quebec, if any team needs a facelift, a passionate new owner and a check up from the neck up, it’s the Arizona Coyotes. Put it this way – do you think the Arizona sports media is going crazy about all this losing? After all, bingo games at Senior Citizen homes draw more of a crowd. There’s also more winning at those bingo games! A team like this, in a major hockey or media market, would be held more accountable.

With that all out of the way, you can now see how a loss to the Coyotes would’ve called for drastic measures by the New York Rangers. I truly felt that if the Rangers dropped this game, then AV was a goner. I wonder if AV felt that pressure too? Of course, no one in the media would ask such a logical question. What I did find humorous and something to keep an eye on, was when the Rangers desperately needed two points and this was somewhat of a MUST-WIN game, even if it was only game 11 of the regular season, AV turned to Ondrej Pavelec to man the nets.  Instead of going with his overrated and overpaid goalie, who has more holes in him than Sonny Corleone, AV went with his back-up goalie. King Pavelec returned the favor by having his strongest game of the season.

While the talk of the game was Derek Stepan, it would be Anthony Duclair who had the stronger game. Photo Credit: Arizona Coyotes/Getty Images

Remember how incensed I was when the Rangers included Anthony Duclair in the Keith Yandle trade? I told you it was a stupid trade then and now that everything has paid off, it’s a stupid trade now.  In case you forgot, here’s the trade Senile Sather made, in an attempt to make a run for the Cup in 2015:

The New York Rangers acquired defensemen Keith Yandle and Chris Summers and a fourth-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft from the Arizona Coyotes on Sunday for defenseman John Moore, forward prospect Anthony Duclair, a second-round pick, and a conditional first-round pick.

The Rangers didn’t win the Cup in 2015, so the trade failed. I wouldn’t blame Yandle for the Rangers Cup loss in 2015, as I feel that Zuccarello’s injury and Lundqvist being Tampa’s bitch, were bigger factors. The Rangers would eventually trade Yandle for a sixth round pick after the 2016 Cup playoffs.

At the time of the Yandle to the Rangers trade, I said it was a huge mistake to trade Duclair. The first round pick was fine by me, because after all, the Rangers weren’t going to have a high draft pick. In addition, the Rangers went on to win the Presidents’ Trophy that year. They were going all-in. That’s fine. I just didn’t think the potential, DUKE OF NY, had to be included in the deal.

When you look at how it all played out, in the end, the Rangers essentially traded Duclair for Florida’s sixth round pick. With moves like this, on a daily basis, it’s really not hard to figure out why the Rangers have won only four cups in 90 years. As you’ll later see, Duclair was one of the rare bright spots for Arizona.

Let’s hit up the boxscore, courtesy of ESPN.com:

Goaltending Summary

Arizona Coyotes Goaltending

Player SA GA Saves SV% TOI PIM
A. Hill 29 4 25 .862 59:04 0

New York Rangers Goaltending

Player SA GA Saves SV% TOI PIM
O. Pavelec 29 2 27 .931 59:56 0

There were many different story lines tonight, so KING PAVELEC may get lost in the shuffle in other recaps. However, he won’t be forgotten here! Photo Credit: M$G Networks

For a regular season game in October, this game had several major story lines going into it. They were:

  • The return of Derek Stepan. No matter how you may have felt in Stepan’s final season with the Rangers, no one can deny that he gave it his all for this team. While he was a casualty of the salary cap (Amazing how the only player exempt from that for NYR is Henrik Lundqvist, despite every piece of data suggesting that you can’t win a Cup with a high priced goaltender) Stepan did have a bad playoffs last season. That said (another one) no can deny what he meant for this team for 7 years. He grew to become a leader with this team. He played with a broken jaw. He scored big goals. I would expect the same type of reaction for Dan Girardi, when the Lightning blaze into town.
  • Two cellar dweller teams needing a win. For the Rangers, they dodged the bullet and took care of home ice & beat the worst team in the league.
  • Alain Vigneault’s job security. You’re only as good as your last game, and AV looked smart tonight. All his moves worked out and the Rangers looked like the team many fans hoped they would be.
  • King Pavelec getting his first win. If you can’t tell, I’m being facetious when I use the word “KING” to describe Ondrej Pavelec. However, as is evident by Henrik Lundswiss, you don’t need a crown to be called a King. Anyone can be a King. Shit, I’m going to demand my co-workers to call me KING SEAN on Monday!
  • Rick Nash played his 1000th NHL game. A solid career milestone for sure, but like nearly every other game this season, Rick Nash, the highest paid forward on the team, could not score a goal. He’s the 40 Year Old Virgin. He just can’t get it in.
  • Marc Staal played his 700th NHL game, making him 12th all time, for most games played as a New York Ranger.
  • Despite cheap tickets, the continuing trend of playing in front of many empty seats continued. In fact while on cheap seats, let me share you the latest, as I’ve been tracking this story all season.

As usual, the Rangers texted their fans their $55 ticket offer.

Center ice aisle seats were even cheaper than the $55 face value the Rangers were asking for.

You can check my last few blogs for my thoughts on the ticket prices. However, if you’re a fan whose been priced out over the years, there’s been no cheaper time to go to games than now. Even if the team does rip off a winning streak, I expect tickets to remain cheaper than usual, just because of the factors that I’ve talked about previously on this site.

Here’s a T-Shirt: “I went to Montreal and all I got was Joe Micheletti!”

As noted, I’m currently in Montreal, as part of my annual trip here for the Rangers/Habs game. I love the city of Montreal. As someone who enjoys a beer or 50, there’s no better town to drink in than Montreal. On an aside, I still don’t have tickets to the game on Saturday, as I’m doing the Stubhub trick. With the Habs beating tonight, courtesy of the LA Kings, tickets are much cheaper than usual. Listen, you think the problems with the Rangers are bad? You should hear the media and the fans up here.

Due to the fact that I’m a fucking derelict degenerate, I called several bars to see if they were showing the Ranger game up here. Since the Habs game was on tonight, that was getting top billing, as it should. There was a Philly/Ottawa game that got second billing on the TVs around the bars here and some scant TV’s showed a game between a bunch of losers who kneel during the National Anthem.

Not wanting to miss out on the drinking, I did what any other insane Ranger fan would do – I took my laptop and headphones to the bar. What’s great about Montreal, is that every bar has strong (and free) WiFi. You know you may have a problem when your phone automatically switches to a bar’s WiFi. Happens to me every time at “Charlie’s”!

While a bit anti-social I admit, I needed my Rangers fix. As I said, I truly thought if the Rangers lost this game, AV wouldn’t be joining me in Montreal. I rarely miss Ranger games anyway and with Derek Stepan in the house, this game was a little more special than usual.

I may have had about 20+ of these as I present these words to you.

Want to hear something fucked up? You don’t? Well, I’m going to tell you anyway!

I pay for both NHL Center Ice and for the MSG Networks/MSG GO. Both were fucking useless tonight. Despite me being a paying customer of both, neither worked up here. In the case of the NHL Center Ice package, not being able to watch any game you want, in any location, kind of defeats the purpose. I would later find out on twitter that everyone had problems with NHL Center Ice for this particular game.

With the stream of the game going in and out (and eventually dead) on the NHL Center Ice, I had to watch an “illegal” stream of the game. Can you imagine this? I pay and support both the NHL and MSG Networks and I can’t even watch the fucking Ranger game the one time I’m on the road. I had to navigate ad-ware websites to get a crystal clear stream of the game. Why pay at all?

The reason I mention this is because I didn’t watch this game as intently as I normally would. For starters, I’m in the bar on a laptop. With the streaming issues, I missed plays and I couldn’t track several players the way I normally would. I’m not going to bullshit you with things I didn’t see or saw half-assed on a chopped-up stream, I’m just going to comment on the game in general, rather than my period-by-period breakdown, that I normally do.

Intermission fun!

Goaltending was a huge part of this game. For the Rangers, KING PAVELEC put forth his best effort of the season. Coincidentally, so did the Rangers. The Lundqvist fans won’t want to hear it, but you can’t deny, this team ALWAYS plays better in front of the back-up, especially in the AV era.

Save me the “They have to play tighter on D for the back-up” debate. Do you think the team says, “eh, Hank’s in net, he has 3.00 GAA, he’s got this.” The team should never waver from the game plan and should always give their best effort no matter who’s in net.

I truly believe that some of the defensemen are sick of Hank’s shit. We saw Stepan call Hank out for being a baby. We are seeing minutes being taken away from players rumored to have spoken up about Hank in the locker room. (Unlike another blog that trivializes 9/11, I’m not going to make up “unconfirmed sources” to support my argument. There’s just been rumors about players speaking up about Hank’s bitch fits. I can’t confirm or deny any of that, nor do I have an “unconfirmed source” either. I’m just a fan with a blog and follows the NYR gossip.)

Pavelec, who would only have to make 7 of his 27 saves in the first period, got a strong support from the team in front of him. (Isn’t it amazing how Lundqvist diehards will say this same sentence, but will omit that sentence if Hank was in net?)

I know, I’m talking way too much about Lundswiss, which is crazy because he didn’t even play. However, it just drives me nuts the way people cover him, especially the M$G Networks.

“If Henrik Lundqvist is screened, he can not make a save.” – Steve Valiquette

Listen, I like Steve Valiquette. Like many NYR fans, I do think he has a future in coaching, if he should choose that route. However, he’s so far up Hank’s ass, that if Hank farts, his hair would be parted perfectly down the middle. Plus, since it was Lundqvist who farted, Vally would even get a little product for his hair too!

When it comes to Joe Michletti’s coverage of Lundqvist, he’s just a lost soul. When he talks about Hank, it seems like he has more Hank DNA in his mouth than DNA at a “Law & Order SVU” crime scene.

Both Joe & Steve were not fair to Pavelec tonight, which in the case of Vally, shocks me a little bit, since Vally was a back-up goaltender himself. Then again, his allegiance to Lundswiss trumps all.  (For example, remember when Vally was crying about PAYING NYR customers booing Hank for sucking last season? I get why Vally was mad, but I don’t think he factored that tickets are sky high and some fans can only afford to go to one game a season.)

Anyhoo, on the broadcast, Pavelec was making saves in the later periods, that would’ve had Michetti’s penis knock over the retired numbers in the rafters, if his name was Henrik Lundqvist. These are the same saves that Vally would’ve busted out his stat book for, if Henrik Lundqvist made them. Instead, Micheletti “ho-humed” the saves made, while Vally IGNORED them during his segments.

The coverage was not fair and for the first time in a while, I felt M$G networks was FAKE NEWS, as they decided not to talk about the great job Pavelec was doing. If this was Lundqvist out there, Vally would’ve been head over heels and Joe would’ve been spreading seed like a farmer.

I know some of you think I’ll get this jersey since I have a Talbot & Raanta one, but alas, I’m not a Pavelec fan. I’m just calling him KING PAVELEC because I know it gets a rise out of people with no sense of humor. For the new readers, I was always a Talbot fan from the second he was signed. Raanta grew on me. However, spoiler alert – I have a SKA CZAR IGOR jersey coming to me in the mail!

While my rant on Pavelec is complete, on the other end of the ice, you had poor Adin Hill. The 21 year old third string goalie (Raanta is out with a lower body injury, as previously mentioned) looked like a tourist on the subway. Playing a desperate Rangers team, he couldn’t weather the storm and would eventually fold like a cheap suit.  Hill gave up a lot of bad goals and was constantly out of position. Hey – isn’t it funny how we all say “SO AND SO SCOREEEEEEEES!” and not “Hill’s defense sucks and that was a soft goal.” That’s just all part of being a fan.

Hill was brutalized tonight. At one point, you were hoping Tocchet would throw in the towel for him. However, Hill wasn’t completely lost, because like any other goalie in the league, he handled Rick Nash with ease.

Pavel Buchnevich had his best game of the season. Photo Credit: NHL.com/Getty Images.

While the Vesey/Fast/Hayes line has been the best line for the Rangers this season, a new line has emerged as a contender. The new fourth line of Buchnevich/Nieves/Grabner had a stellar performance tonight. Nieves logged three assists, which probably gives him more points than Rick Nash all season. Grabner added two goals, albeit, one being an empty netter. But shit, as I always say, an empty netter means you closed the game off. Empty netters are important as it prevents an equalizing back-breaking last minute goal. Buchnevich, who has had Rick Nash disease all season, would also add two goals. The second one was perhaps the best one, as he stayed with a play and was able to score on his second attempt at it.

Seriously – best case scenario, if this 40/89/24 line continues to have success (You really can’t overreact to beating Arizona), it’s only a matter of time with both BOO-nevich and BOO Nieves, that we have the announcers telling us that the fans aren’t booing, they are chanting names.

If you’ve been reading me regularly, we all know this – the Rangers are trying to put fresh paint on a turd. In other words, they are trying to rebuild and win at the same time. While I don’t see the Rangers doing diddly this year in the playoffs, at least we are seeing young players do well. That’s part of winning a Cup. For all the talk about Sidney Crosby, Malkin, Letang and Kessel, young blood like Jake Guentzel and of course, KING MATT MURRAY, have helped power the Penguins to Stanley Cup victories.

We also saw the Rangers stick up for each other tonight. Chris Kreider, who had the first goal of the game, defended David DeSharnais, after what Kreider felt was a cheap shot on Double D by Jason Demers in the third period. With the game 4-2 Rangers, there was no reason for Kreider to fight. (Rule of thumb is if you’re going to fight, fight when you’re losing & definitely not when the game is on the line.) While the fight itself wasn’t much to write home about, due to these sissy Mary refs, the fact is Kreider got his hands dirty in the name of teamwork.

Another silver lining in this game was Mats Zuccarello, who made a picture perfect, Martin St. Louis like backhanded pass to Kreider, on the first goal of the game. As we all know – good things happen when Zucc touches the puck. I really hope to see Zucc get going again, as he’s looked like the invisible man for a large part of these first 11 games.

 

While the Rangers put together their best team effort all season tonight, which they should’ve, considering the competition, what can’t be lost is the Derek Stepan tribute. M$G fans did the right thing. It’s just a shame I had to find this tribute on twitter & from the Coyotes and not NYR & M$G themselves. No joke – the Coyotes did more to promote and show respect to Stepan than the Rangers did. Well, at least on social media!

I know I sound more negative than @ScottyHockey about the Rangers, but while playing 1000 games is an achievement & a testament to being a good player, Nash did not deserve the Foo-Foo Fedora tonight. It should’ve went to KING PAVELEC, Boo Nieves or the commie.

All in all, this was a great win for the Rangers. If you’re looking to nit pick anything tonight, you can say the special teams leave much to be desired, as the powerplay remained lifeless at 0-2 and the PK surrendered another goal.

think know, that you guys aren’t idiots. You know what this win means. It’s a win that had to happen. The Rangers beat up on the worst team in the league. This win doesn’t mean anything when it comes to the future. This win won’t put the league on notice. Shit, even with this win, the Rangers are still in last place in the Metropolitan division. I don’t even know if you could build off this win, because this is like the varsity football team smacking around a bunch of kids from junior high.

I’ll save the jumping up-and-down shit when this Rangers team starts building winning streaks and knocking off some playoff teams, like Pittsburgh, Columbus, Tampa, Washington, Chicago, etc. Don’t get me wrong – I’m glad NYR won and it’s even better, personally, that when AV needed a win, he turned to KING PAVELEC, but I know this is a hollow victory at best. That said (last one), two points are two points and the Rangers have wasted enough opportunities at two points, at home this season.

My hotel bathroom

Up next: A Saturday night showdown with last year’s first round playoff opponents and another Original 6 team, the Montreal Canadiens.

For some reason, these last few seasons, the Rangers always play the Habs, in Montreal, on Saturday nights. I’m not complaining, as that is conducive to my schedule. As a result, I usually do Thursday-Sunday vacations up here.

I’ll tell you what, I’m glad I’m here now. I hit the same spots every time I’m here, so people know me. Plus, with social media, you rarely lose contact with people anymore. People here are PISSSSSSSSED. People are even turning on Carey Price! I wonder who could’ve predicted that high paid goalies won’t win a Cup. Hmmmmm…..

The media here is slicing through the Habs like their right hand is Edward Scissorhands and their left hand is Freddy Krueger.

When I first booked my trip here, face value tickets were sky high. My friends and I decided to do the Stubhub trick for this game, just because we’ve been here so many times. It’s not a new market for us, where we like to save up our money and sit nice.

I originally was looking to pay up to $150 for decent seats. As it stands right now, I can sit first row, on the glass for $200. I’m not going to pay that, as tickets are dropping, especially after Quick dominated the Habs tonight. I don’t know why watching the ticket market fascinates me so much, but it does!

Going into the Habs game, the Habs are the worst team in the Eastern Conference, with a pathetic 5 points. The Rangers, last place in the Metro, hold 8. There is a lot of bad blood between the two teams, with Chris Kreider as enemy number one. However, after last years upset, the tension is even stronger in this renewed Original 6 rivalry. The Habs are desperate and perhaps their hatred of the Rangers motivates them a bit. Then again, maybe the Rangers shove a hot piling bowl of poutine up their French asses. Either or!

If I’m AV, I’m starting KING PAVELEC for this game. The Rangers can ill afford opportunities at points. As someone who has seen many of these Hab/NYR games up here, let me tell you this – LUNDQVIST FUCKING SUCKS IN MONTREAL. Sucks more than usual up here for whatever reason. However, I fully expect AV to start Hank since AV ignores every other trend. At least for the Rangers, the Hab fans are starting to boo Carey Price and are extremely frustrated. The anger that is usually reserved for the Rangers at these games, from the fans, is now directed at the Habs themselves!

My favorite team vs my favorite road city

I don’t know when I’ll be back next. I’ll be at the game on Saturday and will perhaps take part in some post-celebratory belts. I got an early flight Sunday, but it’s only a 45 minute flight, so I doubt I’ll get the blog done then. We’ll see. If I can get something up after all the shenanigans Saturday night, I will.

I’m also finished with the Sean Avery autobiography. I plan on doing one of my reviews for that book next week too.

If that isn’t enough, I’m doing extra time at work, because next week, I’m taking off on Thursday & Friday again, as I head down to Florida to see the Rangers play the Bolts & the Panthers. And these basement Lundqvist blowjob boys call me a “fake fan!”

As always, MERCI for reading!

Allons aux Rangers!

Sean McCaffrey

BULLSMC@aol.com

@NYCTHEMIC on the tweet tweet

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